KEVIN ROLNICK (2015)

Reflections:

“Stepping off of the plane in Abuja, I truly did not know what to expect of the country and experience I had committed to for three weeks. Performing literature reviews for my Shapiro project equipped me with general knowledge about the country (e.g. its infrastructure, economic character, etc) but in no way prepared me for the feeling of Nigeria – and no amount of reading could. That is the point of traveling and immersing into another place and culture: to feel and understand the way of life in that place, even if for a very brief period of time.

“… I felt so welcomed and at home from day one and by the end felt like I was truly part of the family.”
“And, one of my most cherished memories of all was on the second night of the medical mission when the doctor continued continued to see patients despite the late hour, lack of light, and fatigue. … this period of time has no doubt impressed upon me a deeper sense of empathy that I will carry forward as a medical student and physician.”

“Equally as important was interacting with the villagers who were so grateful for my presence at the mission. It was an enormous privilege to be able to interview 60 Emekuku locals about their lifestyle for research, but getting to know them outside of the interview at the mission (including the volunteers) was fantastic. And, it was so great to see familiar, smiling faces at church following the mission. I will always remember one local man saying, “please don’t ever go” when he recognized me at the church. The need for increased access to healthcare is enormous in this region and seeing it firsthand, meeting and getting to know the people who are affected by this deficiency, will do a lot to inspire my future medical activities.”

“On a very practical level, I learned how to screen for clinical signs of anemia, cataracts, and also how to utilize a retinal camera and tonometer, to name a few skills. And, observing interviews of patients helped me understand the type of pointed questioning that is required to be efficient in this type of setting. “

“A few of my favorite memories: chicken ceremony upon arrival to Mezuville, palm wine tasting, church at Mt. Carmel with traditional clothing, suya after visiting FUTO, dinner at the priest’s house, every family dinner at the Mezu house, and visiting the park and sites in Abuja.”